Armageddon Vol. #01 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: C+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: CPM Press
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 186
  • ISBN: 1-58664-909-4
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Armageddon Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     January 07, 2005
Release Date: September 01, 2004


Armageddon Vol.#01
© CPM Press


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hyun Se Lee
Translated by:Jisu Kim & Chris Livaccar
Adapted by:

What They Say
DREAM A LITTLE DREAM.
He-Sung has dreams of the Earth being destroyed from alien invasions! In these dreams, he is a motorcycle-riding warrior, the last defense against the alien armada. By his side is a beautiful armor-clad woman with strange powers and futuristic weaponry. But these are just dreams, and they don't mean anything…right? That's what He-Sung thought…until his mystery dream girl appeared as a new student in his school! But if she is real…can the aliens be far behind?

The Review
Packaging:
CPM's packaging is misleading. They have packaged this title in a tall B6, oriented left-to-right (which is standard for manhwa). What had me confused was the cover art. On the front cover, there is a color image of who knows who in body armor, with shield and sword in each hand, wrapped in a cape looking pretty badassed and looking pretty eighties as well. I have no clue who the character is and what it has to do with this manga at this point, but it does not do this manga much justice. The opposite cover has a piece of character art, a portrait of Mari Jang in a battle suit, placed to the left of a long volume description.

Inside the printing is okay. This title does not use a lot of screen tone, so it is a little tough to tell, but the inking looks sharp and the alignment is great. CPM Press has also included a few nice extras. Besides their usual character intros CPM included short biography of Hyung Se Lee and ads for the Nambul War Stories, Mythology of War and Hard Boiled Angel.

Art
Lee-sensei's artwork reminds me of a few of my favorite mangaka. Tezuka Osamu comes to mind when looking at the facial expressions and cartoonish feel that these characters have when they are not acting hard. In close ups, I am reminded of Saitou Takawo's (Golgo 13) stoic faces and powerful but simple eyes. While neither falls into my taste, the designs are unique and make for an interesting look. Something that caught my eye was the unique use of different pen nibs he uses for shading and texture. It is really obvious on the lead characters hair, but in some fine detailing, it seriously makes his line work stand out. His lines give his characters a blocky look, and like in many Monkey Punch manga, the lack of heavy use of ink makes them look really one-dimensional. His mecha designs are cheesy spoofs off Gundams, with each head available in the 80's present.

Lee's solid art also shows on the backgrounds and layout for this title. Background art often very detailed. With this being a sci-fi title getting to know Lee's unique world and how it will play in the story is important. Lee-sensei does a good job presenting the dark world his characters are in. The layout gives readers good sense of perspective and actually is active in the mystery by occasionally making scenes look a little misleading. At times, especially in the futuristic scenes, his art resembles Matsumoto Leiji works (similar mechanical designs for space fleets and their engine structures). Overall, it is really effective work.

Text/SFX
SFX are all translated with subs. The retouch is pretty good, but I have to also say that Lee doesn't use a lot of SFX either so that might have helped as well. CPM uses subs that are about the same size as the original SFX so in some scenes, they could be covering up art, but CPM avoided that in most of their panels. The translation really reads well. It continues to be one of the better translations I have read from CPM recently. I do not have the original to compare with (and I do not know how to read Korean) but the story flowed well and really kept me caught up in the story.

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Imagine having the ability to see the future. You can see humanities accomplishments, its great people and what part you will play in it. At times, it may be torture, as human nature has shown numerous times before war, disease and natural disasters can seriously alter the course of life. That power would be an amazing thing to control and it could mean being able to be a part of creation of the future.

To He-sung, it is more like a nightmare than a dream. He is living the future now... in his dreams. The future he sees is horrible and hopeless. Humanity is at its end. Unknown forces with immeasurable strength have invaded the planet. The enemy’s superior technology has rendered the Earth's defense systems quaint. Chaos runs rampant and hope is lost.

This is not a future He-sung wanted for himself. In almost every retelling, he is present witnessing his impending doom. As a dream, it is an obvious nightmare that he would not wish could ever come true. Nevertheless, with every new day his reality and his dream world come closer together. People he dreamt up are now showing up in his school. They are sitting next to him on the bus. His world is turning into a sci-fi movie filled with laser weapons and assassination plots with Ho He-sung the star of this production. Any movie with a runt like He-sung would make for a strange casting. Let's hope he survives this first volume and gets the girl in the end, huh.

Comments
Imagine if life as we know it was not simply caused by evolution. What if there was a superior race that traveled the galaxies looking for hospitable lands where they could begin the process of life through their version of evolution? What if their science found out that man was not to be the dominant force on this Earth? WHat if the true rulers of the Earth walked this land ages ago! Humanity would be fortunate to have survived, but would they fall like there predecessors before them?

Lee's Armageddon asks those questions and gives his readers small tastes of what the Earth would be like if humanity was not at the top. Through the dreams of scrawny He-sung Ho, Lee's future of humanity appears to be at its end. Instead of an era of prosperity and growth, his future is one of war and destruction. Like the Planet of the Apes, lizards have regained control through greater physical and scientific strength. If He-sung dreams mean anything there is no hope, but now they are only dreams. In 1987, Korea there is plenty of hope. There is even more hope for readers if a character like He-sung could become a hero. That can only happen if dreams come true, and who would want a dream like that!

I like some of the ideas Lee-sensei has, however I am having a difficult time seeing where he is going with this. Lee has not defined the connection between the two worlds as of yet, so it is hard to make a decision on how effective this idea truly is and how it will move the plot. At this point, there is no plot; their are plenty of ideas and a cast of personalities that should make for some interesting tension and fun comedy. Therefore, in the end all that is there is potential. Potential could make this great; conversely, it could bomb. On first impressions bombing is quite possible. The sci-fi is corny and feels old and rehashed. The comedy is not as tight as Hard Boiled Angel and there really is no drama either. Ultimately, this is a Hyung Se Lee title so I will give it chance.

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